The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the governments of Bihar and Chhattisgarh to trace all missing children within a month. It also summoned the chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh to explain why the state has failed to locate lost kids.
A bench headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu appreciated the Bihar government for tracing 169 missing children within a week, but directed it to complete the task of finding another 464 children in three weeks.
Expressing its anguish at the Madhya Pradesh government’s failure to take action to trace missing children, the bench asked the state’s chief secretary to be personally present at the next hearing to offer an explanation.
It further sought the Centre’s response regarding the implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be followed by all states in tracing missing children.
The bench had earlier summoned the chief secretaries and police chiefs of Bihar and Chhattisgarh to explain what actions they had taken to locate missing children. The bench noted that the two states had not implemented its order to register FIRs regarding all missing children.
While issuing a stern warning to all states in October, the apex court had directed them not to make a “drama” of the issue and to take effective action to tackle the problem.
Senior advocate H.S. Phoolka, who appeared for NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, said many states had not provided data and compliance reports regarding the apex court’s directives.
The Supreme Court passed several directions in response to a PIL from the NGO, which alleged that more than 1.7 lakh children had gone missing across the country during 2008- 2010.
The NGO claimed many of them were kidnapped for trafficking and child labour.
The court had directed authorities to register FIRs as soon as they received information about a missing child. Photos of missing children should be uploaded on the ‘Child Track’ website and a juvenile welfare officer should be posted in every police station, the court had said.